After withstanding the Houston Texans' every attempt to deny them of the No. 1 seed in a thrilling finish to the regular season, the Tennessee Titans have earned themselves that top seed in the AFC with a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs thanks to a 12-5 record. Ryan Tannehill rose to the occasion and had himself a game for the Titans as they held off a Texans team looking to play a spoiler role once again after beating the Los Angeles Chargers just a few weeks prior.
With big performances from Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Julio Jones, A.J. Brown, and Anthony Firkser, the Titans were able to outduel Houston and finish their regular season on a high note. On that note, we'll now discuss who the Titans X-Factor will be during the 2022 NFL Playoffs, and it definitely isn't Derrick Henry.
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Titans X-Factor in 2022 NFL Playoffs
During the second half of the season, Tannehill was solid for the Titans and did manage to step up in a major way for them with Henry out injured. So if Tennessee is hoping to maintain this level of success throughout the playoffs, they'll need Tannehill to consistently produce for them as they aim to protect home-field advantage throughout the postseason and come away with some dominant victories in the weeks ahead.
His ability to keep calm under pressure and come up with a series of big plays will be vital to Tennessee's success regardless of who they wind up crossing paths with in the Divisional Round. In their relentless pursuit of the Lombardi Trophy, the Titans will rely heavily on Tannehill to deliver for them and lead timely scoring drives when they need it most.
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This will be of high importance to them while King Henry works his way back to full strength and looks to run over everyone and anyone who gets in his way. Regardless, Tannehill must come through for the Titans and execute their aerial assault to perfection. This shouldn't be too challenging for him with Pro Bowl talents like Jones and Brown at his disposal, who are both ready to do some serious damage during the playoffs after dealing with injuries throughout the regular season.
For the most part, Tannehill has done well for the Titans. However, he has also been streaky for them at times, especially this season after impressive 2019 and 2020 campaigns. This has been a cause of concern for the Titans when they've blown huge leads or been horribly outplayed by a team that they should've beaten handily. Only time will tell if he's able to maintain consistency throughout the duration of the 2022 NFL Playoffs.
If the good version of Ryan Tannehill shows up in the playoffs, there's no doubt that the Titans could wreak havoc all postseason long. The Titans have the potential to achieve great things this year, and under the veteran leadership of Tannehill, they could make this dream a reality as they hope to win their first title in franchise history. As they embark on the playoff road ahead, the Titans will need Ryan Tannehill to be on his A-game for the entirety of the NFL postseason in the hopes of leading them to the promised land.